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Reading: Congress to FCC: Where’s the damn report on mobile companies selling location data? • The Register

From Congress to FCC: Where’s the damn report on mobile companies selling location data? • The Register

It’s been 18 months since it emerged that US mobile companies were selling the location data to their tens of millions of users with little or no oversight, and Congress wants to know what the hell the FCC is doing about it.

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Reading: Controversial AAUP Poster at UW-Milwaukee

From Controversial AAUP Poster at UW-Milwaukee

From Joel Berkowitz at AcademeBlog. Not just an account of the rejection of an ad poster but also of the admin back-spin. Two points: this account clarifies the overall controversy, and illustrates how threadbare the admin excuses have become. “New policy” as a red herring argument and “start of a conversation” as a spin.

We’re all so tired of PR posing as communication that no one’s trying anymore.

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Reading: Revolution, comrades: Internet Society told to halt .org sale…

FromThe Register

From The Register. The ethics of Ethos emerges.

With opposition to the deal growing within the internet community, and following an abortive attempt by PIR to force ICANN to make a decision this month, it looks increasingly likely that the .org sell-off will fall through.

Why?

In the ICANN lawyers’ letter, the organization rejected PIR’s insistence that any decision be limited to technical security and stability considerations, and said all parties “have long recognized the unique public-interest-focused nature of the .ORG domain, and ICANN’s contractual role in evaluating proposed changes.”

ICANN also rejected [PDF] “any artificial restriction on the scope of ICANN’s analysis” and noted “the obvious importance to the public interest of its operation.” It concluded: “ICANN is reviewing PIR’s request for change of control in light of all of the relevant circumstances, and it looks forward to your client’s continued cooperation in this process.”

But this looks dodgy, too. Rushing the deal makes oversight harder. “Buy now! This deal can’t last,” is a barker’s ploy.

Both ISOC and Ethos have been relatively open about the fact that any deal would need to be concluded quickly. As such, the longer discussions persist, the more risky the deal looks. That’s not all, however: anger at ISOC’s board from its members is growing and the furor risks damaging the organization itself.

And then, there’s some evidence of Ethos sidestepping the non-com charity status.

Under US law, for an organization to be tax exempt, at least one third of the organization’s revenue must come from donors who each individually give less than two per cent of overall receipts, something called the “public support test.” ISOC does not meet that test because the vast majority of its income comes from a single source: the sale of .org domains, paid through a separate non-profit organization, PIR, that ISOC controls.

There is an exception, however. An organization can retain public charity status if public support is at least 10 per cent of revenues but an organization must assert it is operating as a charity, rather than a foundation, and is actively working to get its public support percentage up to 33 per cent.

For this reason, every year since its inception, ISOC has included the same explanation in its tax documents for why it should be granted charity status despite not meeting the 33 per cent test: because it is doing great work with its members around the world.

This doesn’t warrant a sarcastic remark.

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Reading: Trump Is a Would-Be Dictator | The Nation

From Title

From The Nation: a warning. A little architectural metonymy can go a log way.

But it’s not just on the impeachment front that Trumpism is morphing ever more explicitly into a fascist creed. Witness the order, the language of which is now reportedly being drawn up, that would force architects to conform to a classical style when designing federal buildings. Ponder the similarities with orders to enforce architectural and artistic conformity by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, with their sterile but grandiose public buildings and stadiums. If you can ban certain architectural styles, why not certain books or schools of art or kinds of music?

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Reading: Social media notifications of the future

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The Register comments on naming-as-branding.

Choosing a name for one’s offspring can be incredibly difficult. You don’t want them to be the ninth Jaxon in class, but you also don’t want them to be bullied mercilessly for the rest of their lives.

Even so, parents are increasingly pulling appellations out of their arses, in some cases to give their child a “unique” identity on social media.

Seems like a middle-class concern. So it’s good to see the cynical Reg prod the beach rubble to add to the paranoia.

Honestly, who cares? All names are “made up” in one way or another and it’s the parents who end up looking like twats, not the kids. The most disturbing thing is folk getting excited to sign their children’s right to privacy away on social media before they are able to have a say.

As always-the-second-or-third-Michael in the class, I got over it. Along with Greg, Gregory, Kim, Kimmy, Sue, Susie, Jean and Jeanie. The kid two rows in front of me named Alcott? Never heard of him again. 

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Reading: The Disneyfication of a University

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Dane Kennedy in Academe Blog

it is corporate culture, a creature that has become all the rage in the business world—and now, it seems, is burrowing its way into universities. Its professed aim is to instill a sense of shared purpose among employees, but its real objective is far more coercive and insidious.

Our president is rumored to have forked over three to four million dollars to the Disney Institute to improve our culture (he refuses to reveal the cost). A select group of faculty and staff, those identified as opinion leaders, are being offered all-expenses paid trips to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando “to gain first-hand insight into Disney’s approach to culture.” For everyone else, the university is conducting culture training workshops that run up to two hours. All staff and managers are required to attend. Faculty are strongly “encouraged” to participate, and some contract faculty, who have little job security, evidently have been compelled to do so.

Sounds far too familiar. Admin looking for another way to control the university space. Sell ‘em cartoons.

Not sure who’s the bigger looser here: the admin who bought the goop from disney, the fac and staff at the university, or the students and parents who foot the bill for bilge water.

The result is predictable – as Kennedy observes: it’s Mickey Mouse. The admin plays Goofy.

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Reading: ICANN finally reveals who’s behind purchase of .org: It’s ███████ and ██████ – you don’t need to know any more

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Follow the links. Someone is after control of the domain system.

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Reading: The Spirit of Open

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Reading: Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘next decade’ manifesto

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Zukerberg weighs in on how to control communities: appear to give them the Right to Decide. A new take on the war-lord Divide and Conquer. This is from a commentary on Z’s yearly FB manifesto.

New Forms of Governance

Zuckerberg reiterates that the existence of monolithic platforms with access to so many people and their private data creates new governance questions. And that it isn’t right that private companies make “important decisions that touch on fundamental democratic values.” One way to deal with this, he says, is through regulation, especially on issues with elections, harmful content, privacy and data portability.

And then, in the next paragraph, the kicker: “Another and perhaps even better way to address this is by establishing new ways for communities to govern themselves.” This includes an independent oversight board which can hear appeals against Facebook’s content decisions. This “independent board will have the final decision in whether something is allowed.”

On Monday, Bemidji voted 3-2 to not welcome refugees to Beltrami County. Wanna weigh in on that?

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Reading: Facebook Executive Bosworth Says Facebook Is Responsible For Trump’s Election

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Sure. The Power of Advertising. What he’s reckoning is that more dish detergents and Alcoa will flog their wares on FB. Return to innocence. As it was for NBC, so it is for FB.